Another study warns parents to limit soda consumption with children. While previous studies have linked soda consumption to higher rates of obesity, a study published in the journal Pediatrics indicates that it also causes aggressive and violent behavior in children as young as 5 years old. years.
Researchers at Columbia University have tracked the habits of about 3,000 mother-child pairs in 20 major cities in the United States. While the children were followed from birth in the long-term study, data on soda consumption was compiled when the children were 5 years old. The researchers asked mothers to self-report how many servings of soda their child drinks on a typical day, and then to answer a series of behavioral questions.
Children who consumed four or more servings of soda per day were twice as likely as those who did not to display aggressive and violent behaviors – such as destroying other people’s property, initiating physical fights, and verbally attacking people. ‘other children. Children were also more likely to have difficulty paying attention to instructions and were more socially withdrawn compared to 5-year-olds who did not drink soda.
“There was a dose response,” said Shakira Suglia, study author and associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University. “With every increase in soda consumption, we have seen an increase in behavior problems. This was important for children who consumed as little as one serving of soda per day.
The association was present after the researchers adjusted parenting styles and socio-demographic factors such as the violence children were exposed to on television, their sleep schedules and their candy consumption.
Because the researchers relied on self-reported mothers, they were unable to identify the type of soda (diet vs. regular) or the exact serving size associated with the increase. negative behavior.
The American Beverage Association disagrees with the findings of this study. In a statement to CNN, the group said, “It is a leap to suggest that drinking soda causes these or any other behavioral problems. Science does not support this conclusion. The authors themselves note that their study “was unable to identify the nature of the association between soft drinks and problem behaviors. It is important to note that our member companies do not promote or market the consumption of soft drinks to children in the age group examined in this study.
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The researchers say their findings add to growing evidence that drinking soda has a negative effect on children.
Other experts warn to limit the consumption of soda. “Despite the multitude of studies exposing the negative effects of drinking soda, Americans continue to buy and drink more soda than any other country,” said Marlo Mittler, registered dietitian at Cohen Children’s. New York Medical Center, and unaffiliated with the study. “In an effort to reduce the effects on a possible negative behavior of a child, it is suggested to eliminate or avoid all consumption of soda.”
The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends that parents and caregivers limit giving children drinks that contain caffeine or sugar, and should offer them calorie-free drinks and milk instead.
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